OKLAHOMA IS OK!

Four FMX Stars Show Off Their State

When I finally set my size 15 feet in the moist red dirt of Andy Jones’s front yard, I couldn’t wipe off the grin that settled onto my face the second we pulled his big burgundy diesel up to the property. You see, for months now I’ve been hearing daily about how great the Oklahoma moto scene is while getting my arm twisted off to visit and do a story about the little state next to Texas, but to tell you the truth I had some pretty grim visions in my head. Like so many others, I was quick to judge the great state of Oklahoma, and when I judged it I guess I was pretty harsh.

Within the span of only a couple of days, I found Oklahoma to have some of the greatest scenery, best dirt, and most epic tracks in all of the 40-something states I’ve visited. And while I did encounter a few toothless 15-year-old moms with cigarettes dangling from their lips, lots of chewing tobacco, and heard a few thousands “y’alls” and fixin’ tos,” I guess my previous prejudices and stereotypes were a little off the mark. Jones was right-Oklahoma really is a motocross hot spot!

HOWDY, BUT NO DOWDY

When Jones picked me up from the airport and gave me the traditional Oklahoma howdy, things were looking good. The weather forecast was in our favor with no tornados on the horizon and no trailer parks in sight, and the riders were excited to get down to business. Scheduled to take part on our Oklahoma roadtrip were Jones, Jimmie McGuire, Derek Cook, Kenny Bartram, and Bryan Dowdy, all natives of the state. Besides riding at Jones’s moto mecca, we were to crash Dirt Week, an annual, week-long gathering of MX held at Cooperland Raceway, and hit a few local MX tracks in between.

A few miles into the 60 it took to get to Andy’s house from the airport is when he broke the bad news: 20% of our crew was now out due to injury. That’s right; just before we got there Dowdy injured his shoulder and had to pull out. While we were bummed about not getting to shoot and ride with Bryan, we were more disappointed for him and his injury.

HOME ON THE RANGE

Back to that big grin I was talking about in the beginning… Words cannot describe Andy’s property! His ranch was a motocrosser’s wet dream. Big rolling hills with jumps and berms scattered across the place, as far as the eyes could see. Across the street was his dad’s heavy equipment business, and with about 60 different loaders, dozers, and earthmovers, it wasn’t too hard to figure out how he “got ‘er dun,” as the saying goes out here. Beside the track sat the Jones’ own zoo. Andy’s dad Troy happens to be an exotic animal lover, and as a result hosts a home for all sorts of strange animals, from camels to ostriches (he once even had a giraffe!). AJ took me for the quick petting zoo trip, and we were off to bed.

The entire next afternoon was spent sessioning Jones’s yard. At this point it was still Cook, McGuire, and Jones, and we were set to meet up with Bartram the following day at Cooperland. Cook started things out by hitting the ramps first, while Andy and Jimmie broke in the freshly-dozed, red-clay track. Everyone rode until the gas levels in their CRs were getting questionable, at which point the sun was setting anyway. By the end, all three riders were more than ready to get showered up and head to town for some dinner. Of course, by the time we all washed the red dust off our faces, it was way past Elk City’s 8 o’clock curfew, so what we hoped would be a big feast downtown turned into a couple of sandwiches and Cokes at the local Subway before calling it a night.

COOPERLAND, HERE WE COME!

Getting to bed at a decent hour proved to be a great decision when our alarm clocks began screaming at us at six sharp the next morning. We all jumped out of bed and headed out the door to the world-famous Cooperland Raceway in Stillwater, a few hours’ drive away. Once again, pleasant temperatures and blue skies greeted us as we pulled our little convoy ofroops up to Dirt Week. We were now about halfway into the week-long affair, and the place was starting to fill up with several riders, anxious to see if Cooperland was worthy of its hype.

As McGuire and Cook took their first few warm-up laps on the track, Bartram pulled his bling-bling Ford Ranger up with his orange #680 practice bike in the back. Kenny got unloaded, and before long, the four riders headed towards the resident ramps at Cooperland to put on their own little impromptu FMX show! Imagine how stoked the Dirt Week crowd was; not only were they riding on what has to be one of the top-20 MX tracks in the country, they were also getting treated to a demo by four of the best freestyle motocrossers on the planet.

I snapped away as the four riders jumped for what seemed like days, each of them fueling one another’s fire to try much harder on the next pass. While the competitive nature was definitely present, all four were still just having fun riding, and you could tell it was a blast for them to get away from the pressures of contests and demos for a while.

Finally they tired of riding. McGuire had to split to catch a flight at the airport, so that left Kenny, Andy, and Derek to play around on the track. Cooperland is almost overwhelming to someone like me, who is used to tracks in California. In harsh contrast, Cooperland is nothing short of massive, with most sections of the track at least 30 feet across. Big, rolling jumps abound, and riders pop into and out of large green trees on their way around the course. Though Derek and Jones found a cool little tabletop step-down of their own, it was Kenny and local hero/Cooperland caretaker Kris who stole the show.

A just-for-good-guys double appeared out of nowhere, and the tractored-up lip some hundred and fifty feet behind a hill that would be used for a landing was perhaps the most intimidating jump I’d seen all year long. “No way,” I thought to myself. “They’re going to go straight up in the air when they hit that!”

Not more than a second after thinking it, I heard Kris’ CRF pegged in fourth gear towards the humongous lip. As he soared higher than the roof of my house, I almost soiled myself, but he touched down to a perfect landing-on moto suspension! These Oklahoma folk are a rare breed, indeed, is what was racing through my head some 20 minutes later when Bartram was trying Seat Grabs off it.

ROLLIN’ ON DUBS

By this point the riders were beat and the day was topped off with that massive double, so the plan was to follow Bartram into the thriving metropolis that is Stillwater so he could get new rims put on his trusty old Ford Ranger farm truck. He then explained to us that his front passenger-side tire was flat, but since he was getting new rims anyway, it would be a-okay to drive to town on the flat. With that, Bartram threw rocks in our face as he roosted his Ranger down the treacherous dirt road. After about a half-mile, Kenny threw ‘er sideways around a hard 90-degree right, and after swaying back and forth several times thanks to multiple fishtails, the tire finally had had enough. It separated halfway from the rim, causing the most obnoxious da-dunk, da-dunk noise you could possibly imagine and also causing Kenny to finally pull over.

“I guess I should put the spare on, huh?” questioned Kenny through all of the airborne dust. Three “you have a spare?!” from us later, and in no time flat we had the side of the truck on jacks. As we heroically swapped tires, we noticed a big problem-the spare was flat, too. So that was that. Bartram was forced to drive the remaining twelve or so miles into town on only a rim.

Just as safety-conscious as he was while doing donuts down a dirt road with a flat front tire, Kenny showed the same regard for his own wellbeing while driving down the Interstate at about 60 mph, ON JUST A RIM! As we followed in Andy’s F-350, the conversation in the cab went from giggling laughter to total amazement that Kenny was really going that fast on his rim alone. About halfway there we started seeing people on the streets, and every single one of them stopped what they were doing, spotted the culprit of the most annoying noise pollution in the history of the world, and watched Bartram pass in a mixture of sheer wonderment and utter disgust. Seriously, I’d be shocked if Bartram’s hearing wasn’t significantly damaged in the drive, and by the time he finally pulled up to his parents’ lock shop in town, the rim was no longer turning, opting instead to sit like a stubborn child, dragging and sparking along the pavement as Bartram gassed it and laughed. Only in Oklahoma!

The rest of the day was spent getting Kenny back on the road, then driving back to Jones’s house with plans of riding once more the next morning before my mid-afternoon flight. As the locals know well, though, Oklahoma weather changes in a hurry. We woke up the next day to an approaching storm and gray skies, but at that point it didn’t even matter; the last couple of days were enough to show me just how good of a combination Oklahoma and motocross really are.

WHAT OKLAHOMA MEANS TO ME:

FOUR Views of OK

While taking us on a tour of their native state, we asked Bartram, Jones, McGuire, and Cook what it was like growing up on dirt bikes in Oklahoma, and what the state meant to them in their present lives. After all, nobody knows Oklahoma like these guys. Here’s what they said…

After going to Europe countless times and even all the way across Thailand, Oklahoma is still probably the weirdest, coolest, and most unique place I’ve seen-I’ve lived here for over 20 years and it never ceases to amaze me.

Oklahoma is known for its primo red dirt. Of course, the downside to that fine dirt comes after getting roosted on the track all day; it really sucks when you have to do laundry.

I know Okie isn’t that big, but the riding scene is actually really good. We have at least ten tracks in the state that hold races. I’m not trying to brag on Oklahoma, but when most people hear it they think of farms, cows, and backwoods, but the truth is that it’s a really good place to unwind with plenty of land to ride moto on. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time in California too, but the traffic and congestion always gets to me after a while. Also, think about how many riders came from Oklahoma. For such a small, random state, we can lay claim to legends like Guy Cooper, Robbie Reynard, Kenny Bartram, Cliff Palmer, Johnny Marley, Jimmie McGuire, Clifford Adoptante, and Trey Owens. There is also a whole new breed of FMX riders coming out of the state like me, Bryan Dowdy, and Derek Cook.

I’m now 20 years old and I just built a house in Oklahoma with a huge freestyle compound and track, yet another great spot to ride in Oklahoma. In fact, the track is so good that I’m seriously considering holding races here soon, so check out my website www.AndyJones19.com for updates on that. As for me? I gotta’ split-I’m going to my backyard to go ride!

-Andy Jones

Bull riding and the words “fixin’ to,” “howdy,” and “y’all” are just some of the great things that come out of Oklahoma. It’s funny; when I tell people where I am from they have no earthly idea where Oklahoma is (“is it by Virginia or something?”). What they don’t realize is that Oklahoma is a motocross rider’s paradise, full of illuminating traits that make it one of the best moto states there is. For instance, from my house in Lawton I can drive to seven different tracks with seven different kinds of dirt. From red, loamy clay to soft sand to lush brown farm dirt, there’s plenty of different terrain to keep things fresh; we even have sand dunes!

And for the price that you can buy a tract home in Southern California, where you can hear your neighbor flush the toilet, you can get a gigantic home with a tractor and 20-80 acres full of creeks, trees, and rolling hills-heck, you could probably even furnish it! And did I mention eally going that fast on his rim alone. About halfway there we started seeing people on the streets, and every single one of them stopped what they were doing, spotted the culprit of the most annoying noise pollution in the history of the world, and watched Bartram pass in a mixture of sheer wonderment and utter disgust. Seriously, I’d be shocked if Bartram’s hearing wasn’t significantly damaged in the drive, and by the time he finally pulled up to his parents’ lock shop in town, the rim was no longer turning, opting instead to sit like a stubborn child, dragging and sparking along the pavement as Bartram gassed it and laughed. Only in Oklahoma!

The rest of the day was spent getting Kenny back on the road, then driving back to Jones’s house with plans of riding once more the next morning before my mid-afternoon flight. As the locals know well, though, Oklahoma weather changes in a hurry. We woke up the next day to an approaching storm and gray skies, but at that point it didn’t even matter; the last couple of days were enough to show me just how good of a combination Oklahoma and motocross really are.

WHAT OKLAHOMA MEANS TO ME:

FOUR Views of OK

While taking us on a tour of their native state, we asked Bartram, Jones, McGuire, and Cook what it was like growing up on dirt bikes in Oklahoma, and what the state meant to them in their present lives. After all, nobody knows Oklahoma like these guys. Here’s what they said…

After going to Europe countless times and even all the way across Thailand, Oklahoma is still probably the weirdest, coolest, and most unique place I’ve seen-I’ve lived here for over 20 years and it never ceases to amaze me.

Oklahoma is known for its primo red dirt. Of course, the downside to that fine dirt comes after getting roosted on the track all day; it really sucks when you have to do laundry.

I know Okie isn’t that big, but the riding scene is actually really good. We have at least ten tracks in the state that hold races. I’m not trying to brag on Oklahoma, but when most people hear it they think of farms, cows, and backwoods, but the truth is that it’s a really good place to unwind with plenty of land to ride moto on. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time in California too, but the traffic and congestion always gets to me after a while. Also, think about how many riders came from Oklahoma. For such a small, random state, we can lay claim to legends like Guy Cooper, Robbie Reynard, Kenny Bartram, Cliff Palmer, Johnny Marley, Jimmie McGuire, Clifford Adoptante, and Trey Owens. There is also a whole new breed of FMX riders coming out of the state like me, Bryan Dowdy, and Derek Cook.

I’m now 20 years old and I just built a house in Oklahoma with a huge freestyle compound and track, yet another great spot to ride in Oklahoma. In fact, the track is so good that I’m seriously considering holding races here soon, so check out my website www.AndyJones19.com for updates on that. As for me? I gotta’ split-I’m going to my backyard to go ride!

-Andy Jones

Bull riding and the words “fixin’ to,” “howdy,” and “y’all” are just some of the great things that come out of Oklahoma. It’s funny; when I tell people where I am from they have no earthly idea where Oklahoma is (“is it by Virginia or something?”). What they don’t realize is that Oklahoma is a motocross rider’s paradise, full of illuminating traits that make it one of the best moto states there is. For instance, from my house in Lawton I can drive to seven different tracks with seven different kinds of dirt. From red, loamy clay to soft sand to lush brown farm dirt, there’s plenty of different terrain to keep things fresh; we even have sand dunes!

And for the price that you can buy a tract home in Southern California, where you can hear your neighbor flush the toilet, you can get a gigantic home with a tractor and 20-80 acres full of creeks, trees, and rolling hills-heck, you could probably even furnish it! And did I mention that gas is only about $1.68 per gallon? In my mind, Oklahoma really is the undiscovered providence for motocross.

-Jimmie McGuire

Wranglers, cows and farming are probably what you think about when you hear the word Oklahoma. When I picture Oklahoma, I think tons of moto tracks, good dirt, and plenty of open land to ride freestyle on. I started racing when I was eleven years old at the Elk City motocross track. As I got faster and more confident with riding, I started traveling to the other tracks in Oklahoma. There were plenty of tracks to choose from; Oklahoma City has a nighttime track and a daytime track for summer and winter races, Lawton has a nighttime track and there are several more in between.

Of course, Oklahoma also has a huge Amateur National every year in Ponca City. There is also a professional arenacross in Guthrie at the Lazy-E arena. I remember racing all those places, but I would have to say the track that I remember the most would have to be Cooperland Raceway in Stillwater. Cooperland has one of the best layouts of any track in Oklahoma and truly is National-quality.

We ride all day, wind or no wind, but in Oklahoma it is pretty much always windy (the biggest downfall of our state). The wind leads to thunderstorms blowing in, and sometimes there is even a tornado or two. Still, if you look at the few negatives and compare them to all of the positives, Oklahoma really is one of the best dirt bike states in the country. Even after all the traveling we do on a weekly basis with freestyle, all of us still find time to meet up in Oklahoma because it has the greatest riding around!

-Derek Cook

Growing up in Oklahoma has made all the difference in the world to my career, and I don’t know if I’d be where I am now without it. I like a lot of things about the state, but the dirt in Oklahoma is, plain and simply put…the best dirt ever. My Uncle Guy always had people coming in from CA as I was growing up, and they would all go on and on about how great our dirt was. It wasn’t until I finally made the trip out West that I realized how spoiled I had become with the Oklahoma red clay.

You wouldn’t think it, but OK offers just about every discipline of motorcycling on every type of terrain imaginable. There are arenacross races, enduros, motocross races, trials events, road races, dual sport rides, cross-country events, and even fun runs on all types of hills (not mountains, hills).

I started my career in Oklahoma, riding in the pasture discipline (that’s just riding around the pasture in circles, like a horse does). After a while I realized there were tracks that motorcycles were supposed to be on, and that opened up a whole new world for me! I eventually raced just about every track Oklahoma has to offer, and there is such a wide range that it no doubt made me a better rider.

Of course, there were also a few drawbacks to growing up in OK. SoCal gets so much motocross attention; it is hard for a guy from OK to turn heads–you know, the whole out of sight, out of mind thing. But looking back, that may have worked to my advantage because I wasn’t all that fast of a racer. Had I been in SoCal, I probably would’ve just fit right into the crowd and never been noticed. At least in Oklahoma there weren’t as many riders to blend in with. All things considered, I’m glad that I had the chance to grow up riding in Oklahoma. There’s no telling what my motocross career would’ve looked like had I not, but I can pretty much assure you it wouldn’t be pretty.

-Kenny Bartram

HOT SPOTS

IN OK

TWMX scoured the state of Oklahoma as best we could in the few short days we had, but unfortunately we left a ton of places out-there are tracks everywhere! Anyone interested in planning their own riding trip to Oklahoma should come up with a plan of attack to hit as many of the state’s tracks and riding areas as time allows. To help, we compiled a list of some of Oklahoma’s most prominent tracks and legal riding spots…

Appalachia Bay ORV Park

918/865-2621

Ascot Park MX

501/414-7145 or 501/474-1561

Beaver State Park ORV Area

405/625-3373

Cooperland Motocross Park

405/743-8545

Draper Lake ORV Area 405/794-5010

Duncan MX Park

580/255-5059

Elk City Raceway

405/234-1723

Field Of Dreams Raceway

918/758-0793

Hickory Ridge 918/680-0879

JRP Motocross 918/446-7000

Kaw Lake ORV 405/762-5611

Lake Murray Motorcycle Area

405/223-4044

Lawton MX Park 405/355-8808

Little River MX Park 580/933-7926

Little Sahara State Park

405/824-1471

Motorcycle Raceway

405/737-2468

Oklahoma Sugar Bowl

405/372-8338 or 405/743-1515

Pine Bluff MX

870/879-5144 or 870/536-6500

Ponca City Raceway

405/762-3635 or 405/762-5502

Rebel MX 918/775-6818

Sooner State MX 405/392-5022

Stillwater Parks & Recreation

Cycle Park 405/734-2525

Sunset Motocross 918/989-5439

Walnut Creek MX Park 918/542-4102

Woodland Hills

405/692-6053 or 888/463-2837

Xtremeworld Raceway

918/880-6541 or 918/307-2246

Sources:

www.places2ride.com, www.mxextreme.com

t gas is only about $1.68 per gallon? In my mind, Oklahoma really is the undiscovered providence for motocross.

-Jimmie McGuire

Wranglers, cows and farming are probably what you think about when you hear the word Oklahoma. When I picture Oklahoma, I think tons of moto tracks, good dirt, and plenty of open land to ride freestyle on. I started racing when I was eleven years old at the Elk City motocross track. As I got faster and more confident with riding, I started traveling to the other tracks in Oklahoma. There were plenty of tracks to choose from; Oklahoma City has a nighttime track and a daytime track for summer and winter races, Lawton has a nighttime track and there are several more in between.

Of course, Oklahoma also has a huge Amateur National every year in Ponca City. There is also a professional arenacross in Guthrie at the Lazy-E arena. I remember racing all those places, but I would have to say the track that I remember the most would have to be Cooperland Raceway in Stillwater. Cooperland has one of the best layouts of any track in Oklahoma and truly is National-quality.

We ride all day, wind or no wind, but in Oklahoma it is pretty much always windy (the biggest downfall of our state). The wind leads to thunderstorms blowing in, and sometimes there is even a tornado or two. Still, if you look at the few negatives and compare them to all of the positives, Oklahoma really is one of the best dirt bike states in the country. Even after all the traveling we do on a weekly basis with freestyle, all of us still find time to meet up in Oklahoma because it has the greatest riding around!

-Derek Cook

Growing up in Oklahoma has made all the difference in the world to my career, and I don’t know if I’d be where I am now without it. I like a lot of things about the state, but the dirt in Oklahoma is, plain and simply put…the best dirt ever. My Uncle Guy always had people coming in from CA as I was growing up, and they would all go on and on about how great our dirt was. It wasn’t until I finally made the trip out West that I realized how spoiled I had become with the Oklahoma red clay.

You wouldn’t think it, but OK offers just about every discipline of motorcycling on every type of terrain imaginable. There are arenacross races, enduros, motocross races, trials events, road races, dual sport rides, cross-country events, and even fun runs on all types of hills (not mountains, hills).

I started my career in Oklahoma, riding in the pasture discipline (that’s just riding around the pasture in circles, like a horse does). After a while I realized there were tracks that motorcycles were supposed to be on, and that opened up a whole new world for me! I eventually raced just about every track Oklahoma has to offer, and there is such a wide range that it no doubt made me a better rider.

Of course, there were also a few drawbacks to growing up in OK. SoCal gets so much motocross attention; it is hard for a guy from OK to turn heads–you know, the whole out of sight, out of mind thing. But looking back, that may have worked to my advantage because I wasn’t all that fast of a racer. Had I been in SoCal, I probably would’ve just fit right into the crowd and never been noticed. At least in Oklahoma there weren’t as many riders to blend in with. All things considered, I’m glad that I had the chance to grow up riding in Oklahoma. There’s no telling what my motocross career would’ve looked like had I not, but I can pretty much assure you it wouldn’t be pretty.

-Kenny Bartram

HOT SPOTS

IN OK

TWMX scoured the state of Oklahoma as best we could in the few short days we had, but unfortunately we left a ton of places out-there are tracks everywhere! Anyone interested in planning their own riding trip to Oklahoma should come up with a plan of attack to hit as many of the state’s tracks and riding areas as time allows. To help, we compiled a list of some of Oklahoma’s most prominent tracks and legal riding spots…

Appalachia Bay ORV Park

918/865-2621

Ascot Park MX

501/414-7145 or 501/474-1561

Beaver State Park ORV Area

405/625-3373

Cooperland Motocross Park

405/743-8545

Draper Lake ORV Area 405/794-5010

Duncan MX Park

580/255-5059

Elk City Raceway

405/234-1723

Field Of Dreams Raceway

918/758-0793

Hickory Ridge 918/680-0879

JRP Motocross 918/446-7000

Kaw Lake ORV 405/762-5611

Lake Murray Motorcycle Area

405/223-4044

Lawton MX Park 405/355-8808

Little River MX Park 580/933-7926

Little Sahara State Park

405/824-1471

Motorcycle Raceway

405/737-2468

Oklahoma Sugar Bowl

405/372-8338 or 405/743-1515

Pine Bluff MX

870/879-5144 or 870/536-6500

Ponca City Raceway

405/762-3635 or 405/762-5502

Rebel MX 918/775-6818

Sooner State MX 405/392-5022

Stillwater Parks & Recreation

Cycle Park 405/734-2525

Sunset Motocross 918/989-5439

Walnut Creek MX Park 918/542-4102

Woodland Hills

405/692-6053 or 888/463-2837

Xtremeworld Raceway

918/880-6541 or 918/307-2246

Sources:

www.places2ride.com, www.mxextreme.com

riding spots…

Appalachia Bay ORV Park

918/865-2621

Ascot Park MX

501/414-7145 or 501/474-1561

Beaver State Park ORV Area

405/625-3373

Cooperland Motocross Park

405/743-8545

Draper Lake ORV Area 405/794-5010

Duncan MX Park

580/255-5059

Elk City Raceway

405/234-1723

Field Of Dreams Raceway

918/758-0793

Hickory Ridge 918/680-0879

JRP Motocross 918/446-7000

Kaw Lake ORV 405/762-5611

Lake Murray Motorcycle Area

405/223-4044

Lawton MX Park 405/355-8808

Little River MX Park 580/933-7926

Little Sahara State Park

405/824-1471

Motorcycle Raceway

405/737-2468

Oklahoma Sugar Bowl

405/372-8338 or 405/743-1515

Pine Bluff MX

870/879-5144 or 870/536-6500

Ponca City Raceway

405/762-3635 or 405/762-5502

Rebel MX 918/775-6818

Sooner State MX 405/392-5022

Stillwater Parks & Recreation

Cycle Park 405/734-2525

Sunset Motocross 918/989-5439

Walnut Creek MX Park 918/542-4102

Woodland Hills

405/692-6053 or 888/463-2837

Xtremeworld Raceway

918/880-6541 or 918/307-2246

Sources:

www.places2ride.com, www.mxextreme.com